Monroe building official to retire after 32 years

Chief Building Official James Sandor did things his way in a career spanning 32 years and two months.

Booths and a stage will be set up for the annual St. Jude Italian Festival and Chief Building Official James L. Sandor will inspect the structures on Wednesday. It will be his last inspection before he retires, ending a 32-year-career of serving the town.

“I’ll sign a release to the state. Then I will have a few nights of sleeplessness,” Sandor said with a smile. “Fortunately, nothing major ever happened. I think I had a good run.”

Sandor started his career as an assistant inspector. Aside from being the town’s chief building official, Sandor has worked for the state as an instructor at night, training Home Builders Association members and people from supply houses for trades like plumbing and electrical.

First Selectman Ken Kellogg said the town is in the process of offering the chief building official position to a candidate, adding he hopes to make an announcement soon.

Co-workers say goodbye

First Selectman Ken Kellogg, left, proclaimed Aug. 15 James L. Sandor Day in honor of Sandor, at right.

Town employees held a retirement party for Sandor at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library late Thursday morning, a gathering that included a proclamation from the first selectman declaring it James L. Sandor Day.

Kellogg said Sandor was first hired by the town in 1987 after owning a company for 15 years. Sandor was promoted to assistant building official within two months, before rising to chief building official in 1993.

Sandor has been a licensed state building inspector since 1988 and received letters of commendation from the town. Kellogg noted Sandor’s many certifications and continuing education in his field.

Sandor went above and beyond his duties as a town employee, having served on the Safety Committee and as a liaison to the Architectural Review Board, as well as assisting other committees.

Kellogg recalled how Sandor scanned department files and records with the assistance of Masuk High School students and worked with other town agencies and departments, lending his expertise on building issues.

“It’s a little bittersweet, because you’ve been an institution in town,” Kellogg said of saying goodbye to Sandor. “Everything you do is with heart, compassion, empathy and, of course, great skill.”

Historical knowledge

Bill Phillips, deputy director of public works, gives James Sandor a gift on behalf of the highway department.

Bill Phillips, deputy director of the public works, presented Sandor with an enlarged street sign called “Sandors Way” on behalf of the highway department, so Sandor “can have his way at home too.”

Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Chapman said everyone in the land use department respects Sandor for his expertise and called his historical knowledge of the progression of building permits and the land use departments his biggest asset.

“We’ve all had the pleasure of interacting with Jim,” Chapman said. “We’ll miss him. He’s someone who always had the answer,” then Chapman smiled, adding, “even if we didn’t like the answer.”

Gunnar Gaylord, the assistant building official, worked with Sandor for 18 years. He said Sandor is an excellent building official whose conduct is beyond reproach.

Ray Ganser, a member of the Architectural Review Board, left, sits with Chief Building Official James Sandor, while they chat with Linda Picheco, office manager for public works, during a retirement party for Sandor.

“I learned a lot from Jim and I like to think I’m not only a work associate, but a friend,” Gaylord said, before giving Sandor a commemorative plaque from the Monroe Building Department.

Sandor thanked everyone for the party and everything they’ve done over the years. “I share the respect and admiration for all of you,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed working with you.”

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